the good ship, Friendship

The word friend is mentioned ninety times in the Bible.  If that doesn’t tickle your interest, I don’t know what will.  By taking a deeper look at this ancient piece of history, written and rewritten several times over, we see that in the written word, the authors felt compelled to mention,  friends.  If you are a believer or not, mentioning something 90 times in one book (which isn’t necessarily exclusively written about friendship) must carry some weight.  The information must be of some value?  The word friend must worth looking into.

I am currently reading a book, “The Seven Wonders that will Change Your Life” by Glenn Beck and Keith Ablow, MD.  Now, don’t get your chicken feathers ruffled.  It is full of really great information.  Lots and lots to learn about.  Yes, it is written by men that don’t seem to have a sappy bone in their bodies.  No, it is not peppered with political tid bits.  Yes, Mr. Beck values his religion as do many of us.  You have to find what spiritual path works for you and your soul.   While reading this book,  I have taken notes like a 7th grade girl in History class.  You know, with the color changing pen and a spiral note-book that rips the side of the paper to shreds and you have to pick up all those little annoying pieces and it looks messy and it is very frustrating? …..focus people…..stay on topic……..that is my goal.

friendAt one point in the friend chapter, he goes on to say, “whatever troubles you will be so much easier to face with true friends by your side and so much harder to overcome without them…”  I have to say, I have tested the bonds of friendship lately.  I have stretched and used up all sorts of favors.  Any extra credit I may have accumulated over the past 50 years has been turned in for good bonus points.   Friendship is an interesting relationship.  It never ceases to amaze and astound me.

The other side of the page is the explanation of “friend vampires”. They simply put, feast off your energy.  Remove them from your life and don’t spend one moment hating or despising them, that will only deplete you.  No drama, just move forward and quickly.

I have a friend who today, is waiting in a hospital waiting room for 5-6 hours.  We are all praying for,  her teenage son.  Please join us, it’s easy, it’s free, it is painless, just DO IT.  Please send all and any positive, good Karma and prayers of healing and steady hands for the surgeons to Seattle Children’s Hospital, thank you very much.    A couple of things about my friend, she is courageous and a great mom and a wonderful wife…..sure, sure……. she also, is a thoughtful, genuine, honest, kind, smart,  steadfast friend.  In the midst of her overwhelming walk over hot coals with her son, she takes time to send me a note.  She sends me hugs through the internet.  Never once has she looked at me with pity.  Yes, she knows I am sick.  I have no idea if her son knows if I am healthy or not.  Never once has he looked at me with pity.  They don’t judge me because I can’t visit them at the hospital.  My friend, somehow has the ability to laugh at my silly notes or goofy homemade cards.  When I talk to my friend, in person or through technology, I can hold my head up high.  My shoulders are back and I can throw out funny comments and silliness and she get’s it.    Friends since High School, and boy golly, that was many moons ago.  Somehow she brings the best out in me.  I feel like I have a mission to stand by her and her family.  I feel like, while taking my two-mile morning walk, I can pray for her son and be of some help and value to their lives.  I feel like it is one of the reasons I thrive.  She makes me a better friend.stars

 A real friendship is like a diamond.  It doesn’t degrade over time.  It increases in value.  I have another friend, who pushes me to be and do better.  She is helping me reinventing my card making skills.  She doesn’t take “I’m sick, poor me” for an answer.  She somehow conveys to me that, I can handle this.  She already has the attitude that it will be fun and I already have the skills to accomplish this new to me craft.  She also has some sort of weirdo ESP.  She sends me an email or a text when I need it most.  When I am having my own private little pity party she steps in and diverts my attention to something a bit more worthwhile.  She wants to talk about health and wellness and great quality foods and choices.  She is upgrading her life and I get to tag along for the ride.  I feel like one of the reasons I am thriving is because of her spirit.  Her unconditional, non judgmental, supportive, uplifting, sassy attitude, intelligence are just some of the reasons I love her.    We somehow polish each other.  She makes me a better friend.

I have many friends swirling in my brain today.  Many help me focus on the prize.  Health and wellness.  Some “friend vampires” need to be, well……… “honey, git my gun, the herd needs a thinnin‘.”

My true friends are helping me get my “groove” back.  They don’t back down easily. I am grateful for their shoulders to lean on.   Here is my non-solicited advice today:  If you want to change your current life for the better…..be and work on keeping true friends in your life.  Friendship is so worth the effort.

“Genuine friends must be cherished and not forsaken.” Proverbs 27:10

Say GRACE, it’s Tuesday with music & dessert!

Earlier this morning, I went to the piano to practice a little before the day got underway.   I usually wash my hands in very warm water to get things moving and my fingers are slightly more nimble.  I pull the bench out to just the right amount.  I turn on the piano light.  I slip off my flip-flops.  I sit down and take a deep breath and open the sheet music.  I reposition my bench to the exact place it needs to be.  I raise my hands to begin that first sound of music.  Oh good gravy, what is that?  No, it is not gravy.  Why it looks like little girl finger prints and bits of brownie!   Now, if you would like to call either of our boys right this minute, they would tell you, if it was you, stop whatever you are doing, fess up and offer to clean it up lickity split.  However, if it was done by a sweet and innocent, gifted, intelligent, adorable, silly grandgirlie…………that sort of thing makes Grandmas laugh and laugh.  DSCN1423Made the piano practice so much sweeter.   Yet another reason being a Grandma is way more fun than being a mom.

Last night’s family meal was loud and messy and wonderful.  At one point, someone was on the floor with their legs in the air “just thinking”.  Our oldest son said, “you would have never allowed that when I lived here”.  I said, go ahead.  If you can:  A.)  get your legs up over your head while laying down “thinking”, B.) would like to eat your plate of BBQ “meat”balls, broccoli, roasted potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and cucumber onion salad  while balanced on your stomach, C.) think it would be as sweet and adorable as someone else, please give it a try.  My attitude has changed a bit since becoming a Grandma.

Here are the rules (actually only if the parents are in the house).  You have to eat three pieces of broccoli and three pieces of carrots so you can have (vegan) VANILLA ice cream and BROWNIES for dessert.  If said parents are not in the house, Vanilla ice cream and Brownies ARE dinner!!!

So, are you wondering why in the world, two darling grandgirlies like to eat dried out, tough, no flavor, vegan brownies? Um, no one would like to eat those.  golly gee whiz.   Ages 18 months to 50-year-old people who sat around our dinning table last night enjoyed, loved, had seconds and thirds, licked fingers and were at times,  blissfully talking with their mouths full.  These things are so delicious.  Really quite shocking when you find out the  upgraded ingredients.

Grab and apron, turn the oven temperature to 370*, turn on some tunes, maybe piano music would work nicely here,  and let’s get these made for dessert tonight.  Even if you won’t be having grandbabies join you for your meal tonight………….these grandgirlie, mom & Grandma approved brownies are going to elevate whatever meal you choose to serve to your lucky dinner partner.

“I know what those are, those are brownies, like at the coffee shop” said one gifted little girl.

Toast some pecans in the oven first. Quick like a bunny (not that I have ever toasted a bunny before).  You will need 1/2- 1 cup chopped.  I love the toasted flavor, adds a little something, something.  Okay, melt 1 stick of Earth Balance (butter) and then let it cool a bit.  Add one cup of evaporated cane juice (sugar) to a mixing bowl and mix in the melted Earth Balance.  Add in two fresh eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Mix a little bit.  Then add 4 Tablespoons cocoa (I use Fry’s) and 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (white flour), gently fold in your toasted, chopped pecans.  Spread into a 9X9″ greased baking pan.  Bake at 370* for 18 minutes.  Please don’t over bake.  You want people to love these, not take one bite and cough.   Now, before you do the dishes…………you know you want to……………………….. that’s right!  Turn the mixer OFF before you lick the beaters!imagesCA1LCG8H

I found this recipe on http://www.bloomingonbainbridge.com/  Teresa is a wonderful blogger.  I just tweaked the recipe a bit so that I could have one, too.  This recipe made me really, really happy.   So moist and flavorful, really, really good. No left overs, sigh.

DSCN1414Serve these on a great dessert plate.  Have dessert dishes with spoons for everyone.  Bring out some sassy, orange paper napkins, lots of them, just saying.  Put the fudge sauce and peppermint fudge sauce on the table.  Have a dish of Spanish peanuts and some bananas too.  It is time to make your own brownie sundaes!  Time to Say GRACE, and for best results, copy a soon to be three year old girl & make great big munching sounds while taking the first couple bites of the brownie.  It makes it tastes so much better.  Or eat just plain white ice cream.  Then without anything touching, eat a brownie or two or three, then go practice the piano.

victory is mine!

Picture this:  20 years ago, stay at home mom, living in Oklahoma,  two little boys, husband was “invited” to go to another country by the US Army, Christmas time.  Sure we were busy, and life sort of swirled along….that is a whole other story.  I happen to send a card (no email, no Skype, no text messaging) that had a snowman on the front, he seemed to be getting pelted with black cubes of ice.  Inside the card it read:  “Lead it snow, Lead it snow, lead it snow”  Thus began our families LOVE affair with the “pun card”.  It is a quest, it is our mission,  to find and give pun cards.   No matter the holiday “I’m not LION, please be my Valentine” or the recently used birthday greeting…. an old woman on the front of the card playing the accordion.  Inside the words read  “It’s your birthday, act accordingly”.  It was a stretch, but sometimes, that is all you can find.  Some of us have even resorted to making our own pun cards.

Today, July 29th, 2013 I found Mr. Right’s birthday card.  It’s a pun!  His birthday is December 12th.  Now the trick is to keep in safe and hidden AND remember where it is come December 12th.

Finding the perfect birthday card for Mr. Right is PURE happiness.  imagesCA72TM9O

pucker up!

lemon4Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.   Thank you Peter, Paul & Mary……………that will be swirling in our brains all day long. 

lemon3Lemons have become a main stay at our home.  We buy a bag full to over flowing every single week.  People look at me funny when I fill up a bag with all that sunshine.  I look at them funny, wondering why on earth they are not buying 12 lemons each week at the market?    Since January, I alone, have eaten 95 lemons in my morning juice.  (yes, I use a straw so I am not at the dentist each week) Each night included in our green juice is another lemon.  We make fresh lemonade a couple of times a week.  I make a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice to polish some wood in our home.    We keep a lemon frozen in the freezer to zest over foods  to add a “brightness” to the dish.

I for one, am mighty grateful and thankful to Christopher Columbus who apparently  introduced citrus trees to the island of Haiti in 1493 during his second voyage.   Good job, Chris!

Nutritionally, the lemon constitutes one of nature’s seven top sources of potassium, a mineral that promotes clear thinking, aids in normalizing blood pressure, and works with sodium to regulate the body’s water balance.  California and Arizona produce 100% of the entire U.S. lemon crop.

lemon5I read where if you cut a lemon in half and stud it with cloves and put it on your picnic table the mosquitos won’t have anything to do with you.  Okay, worth a try.  If you rub the flesh on your nails it makes the white part, whiter.  I love to float lemon slices in my foot soak tub of flowers and Epsom salts.  My goal today is to drink all my glasses of water.  Yes, you guessed it, I am floating lemon slices in my glass today.  Lemon juice whitens my whites in the laundry.  We spray all our fruits and veggies with white vinegar or lemon juice to clean them prior to juicing.  We clean our cutting boards with a cut lemon.    Just Google lemon uses and you will be astounded at the number of tips and suggestions.

The lovely lemon is credited with many virtues, but the most interesting is the effect it produces  on cysts and tumors. This plant is a proven remedy against cancers of all types.  Lemon  (Citrus) is a miraculous product to kill cancer cells. It is 10,000 times  stronger than chemotherapy. Yes, I just typed that.  No, the pharmaceutical companies don’t get to make money off of the lovely lemon.  gee, is anyone else shocked?   It is considered also as an anti microbial spectrum against bacterial infections and fungi, effective  against internal parasites and worms, it is an antidepressant, combats stress and nervous disorders.

Good golly, Sweet img_0080Mother of Moses, Son number two and daughter in law were married in a lemon grove!

As you know, most mornings, I spend an hour or so on studying and researching health and wellness.  Today was easy peasy.  Today made me feel good about choices & upgrades we have already included.   Today, makes me happy to see the wire basket on our counter, stacked high with the magical healing lemons.  Knowing that the basket will be empty by Saturday, makes my smile even brighter.

I am so thankful for lemons and the tart juice and the gorgeous color.  I am thankful for lemon groves for young people to delight in.  I am thankful for all the farmers & workers who plant and harvest that fruit in the heat of the day.  I am thankful for the goodness that lemons bring into my life.  I am thankful for a friend who shared a really long list of virtues of the lemon this morning.  Monday morning all wrapped up in goodness.  The list was the perfect thing to read after our morning 2 mile walk and during the drinking of my morning glass of sunshine!

Please share any of your secret, magical lemon uses.  I would love to hear and try all that are out there.

A friend sent a silly sign to me.  NOT meant to be disrespectful, just sometimes you have to laugh.  This one made me giggle.  melons 002

Pucker up for a smooch with someone special and add some lemony goodness for all of our good health and wellness!    Grace comes in many different forms.  I gratefully bathe in the Grace of healing, under the shade of the pretty Lemon Tree.   ………….take it away Peter, Paul & Mary……………….

manners trump etiquette

Never once in over 32 years, have I ever sat down to our dining table last.  Mr. Right and when the boys were old enough to stand, always, always politely waited for me to sit down first.  Then came the daughter in-laws, one by one.  Never once has a gentleman in our home sat down to a meal before the girls in the house do.  Now, that is not to say that the mom/girls don’t get up a million and one times to get something forgotten, or a towel to wipe up a spill, however, to begin the meal, we are afforded the privilege of being seated first.

My friend from Sri Lanka, in their household, the men always, always sit and eat first.  Tomato/Tomatoe  everyone has their own unique culture and customs.

Little people have amazing memories.  When our two-year old grandgirlie came to visit last, we were seated at the table and she recalled the last time we were at the dining table.  “Last time, you spilled your green juice and Papa Bruce got up quick and got towels and wiped it all up and then Papa Bruce gave you his juice.”  That statement tells you everything you need to know about Mr. Right.

5cd9ab81190e74f0c080d5404265a485Some folks just never seemed to “get it”.  I am not sure if their parents didn’t teach them, or they chose not to learn it for themselves and then pass it on.  Oh sweet, fancy, mother of Moses, we seem to be in a world of hurt.  Be it politicians, so-called men of the cloth, teachers, co-workers………….listen up, you don’t have to have perfect etiquette, you just have to treat others with good manners. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.  Really that simple, no special classes needed.  Although, I would gladly offer a lesson or two in the name of good manners, anytime.

Oh sure, I get a glowy (yes, that is my word) feeling in my stomach, when I hear the grandgirlies say “no, thank you” or “yes, please”.  I swoon with a long, hand written thank you note from a Stanford college student.  I get giddy when I receive a thinking of you card from a busy medical student.  When I share a meal with our grown “boys” and they naturally use excellent table manners, sigh………….this mother feels “she done good”.

Part of the trick to having good manners is not obsessing about others that don’t.  um.  That is indeed tricky sometimes.  Good manners sort of blends into good behavior that blends into good values and morals.  Sometimes it is a blurry line.  Defacing the Lincoln monument is destruction of public property.  Not really bad manners.  However, if those simple-minded, undereducated people had been taught good manners, well, respect would have gone hand in hand.

Here is another rant:  Treating others like you are better than they are, is NOT good manners.  Standing over someone, shaking the proverbial finger at them, instructing them how to behave and how to worship and how they should live their lives is not nice.  Nice matters!   Here’s a thought, maybe, just maybe living your life through kindness and honest to goodness caring for others might be the magic example that someone may notice and want to emulate. being nice

Now, I am not saying that I remember to send a thank you note every time one is needed.  I try.  I try and write down my thoughts of gratitude and appreciation.  I have bumps in the road, and I too forget to mail a proper note.  A time or two, I have been known to lay my evening bag on the table, instead of politely in my lap.  Yes, I too, have picked up the telephone with a hurried “Hello” instead of a polite proper greeting.  Life has a way of barging in and making us goof up now and then.  I forget to return telephone calls, answer emails and yes, I sometimes forget to send birthday greetings promptly (especially when I turn over the calendar and it is the next day, sigh).

What I do remember is to treat others the way I wish to be treated.  Would I like someone to offer a ride to the airport?  Why, yes I would, thank you.   Would I like someone to welcome me to a new home with a jar of fudge sauce?  Heck yeah!  Would I like someone to send me a silly get well card?  Yes, every single card I have received has helped me get a teeny tiny bit better.  Put all those cards together and oh my stars, that’s a lot of good healing wishes.

This isn’t tough people.  Think, use your head for something other than a place to put a saucy summer, straw hat with a jaunty black ribbon.  (I happen to have one that I love.)

If your momma didn’t teach you, or you missed that day in Sunday School, or your girlfriend didn’t smack you up side the head with a slipper…..let this be the light bulb moment you have been waiting for.  Being nice matters.  It really, really does.    The end. nice matters 2

say Grace for Summer Succotash?

For a lively side dish to tonight’s dinner, go to the store  & buy a can of succotash.  Said NO ONE ever!  Really? I ask you, who among us would put their hand in the air & vote for pale green lima beans and yellow, canned, yucky succotash as a side dish? canned succotash Okay, so I added the word yucky.  Yes, Santa always puts a can of succotash in Mr. Right’s stocking.  I would cry thinking I had been a bad girl, if Santa brought me a can of that stuff.  Good girls always get toe nail polish and stickers and vegan candy and a tangerine. geesh, everyone knows that.

Here’s a little hint, every time you grill corn on the cob this summer, grill one extra.  Cut it off the cob and freeze it.  You will be ready to go for this recipe.  Grilled corn, yum-oh.

Today’s kitchen tip:  You don’t  have to, however, by purchasing a brand new saucy, black & white apron with a ruffle and sassy polka dots will almost guarantee a home run in the kitchen.  just saying.apron

Okay, gather your “timber” and let’s get this Sassy Summer Succotash put together.   We can do so much better than canned.  Get your party pants on, this is going to be a snap.  Que the toe tappin music.  And away we go…………..

You can make this heated or toss together for a summer side dish and keep it all cold.  Today, I made ours cold.  1/2 cup chopped onion (purple, yellow, green, or shallots work just fine), 2 cups of sugar snap peas, stems trimmed, 3-4 cups of grilled corn kernels, 1 red pepper cut up into 1/2 cubes, 1 teaspoon of real salt, 1 teaspoon of ground pepper, 1/4 cup fresh chopped Italian parsley.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of fine olive oil and right before serving, garnish with some chopped fresh tomatoes.

DSCN1356Take off that sassy apron before you sit down to an alfresco dinner.  The summer is the perfect time to enjoy a meal with your family outdoors.  Say Grace, (yes, human beings are grateful even for succotash),   wiggle those saucy toes in the bright green grass and start scooping up the goodness onto your dinner plate.  The color will grab your attention, the flavor will entice you  back for seconds.  Yes, succotash so good, even this girl will head back for seconds.  Surprised myself actually.

chin up, buttercup

imagesCAQCBTBZ..when I am feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things…….(or things to be grateful for)

a Golden Retriever companion

a letter from Mr. Right every single day

enough money to pay for several pills a day & wellness and health care

sparkle flip-flops

fresh healing juice

a homemade card from a friend….me on a bike!

popcorn

taking the dog to the lake to swim

fans

air conditioning

a bouquet of gorgeous orange dahlias from Mr. Right

two bikes (indoor and outdoor)

fun happy jewelryimagesCAU244G5

chickens (to live with not eat, duh)

childhood friends who still love me

a quilt that comforts me

grandgirlie goodness

four grown kids who make me laugh

polka dots

a really great camera (I am still learning)

a basket of cards to look through & feel the goodness over and over

RED cowgirl boots (even to wear around the house)

fresh grown green beans

getting snail mail

getting emails

coconut lotionCoconut Desert Lotion (with no nasty parabens)

books

quilting magazines

an inspiring sewing room

a good night sleep (8-9 hours is new for me)

fluffy, comfy duvet

mason jars filled with juice

fresh picked blueberries

yoga stretches

cheers to the new-born prince

planning a fall trip

sunshine on my skin every day

a walk in the forest

looking at photo albums of our “baby” boys

cross stitching

sewing

swimming

uplifting music

………………………and then I don’t feel so bad.

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baggage

Six months ago today, my life came to an abrupt halt.   Hard to even describe the horror of being given a life altering diagnosis.  It is like some after school, television show and you are the sad, sick, slumped shoulder, poorly dressed star who is going downhill fast.  The make up crew has been instructed to “do” your face pale, dull, lifeless, with dark circles around your eyes.  When people discover it is you, they look at you with pity and are afraid of what might rub off on them.   suitcase It brings you to your knees and that day, you are given, free of charge, this huge, old-fashioned, no wheels, extremely heavy, dull, scared, ugly, stinky pink lined, beat up suitcase bulging with emotional, depressing, angry, upsetting, awful, horrid issues.  The baggage is so heavy, you can hardly move around freely.  Your joints ache with the thought of just getting out of bed.  Simple tasks are all but impossible.  You pray and wish for a day when you can vacuum or make the bed or prepare a lovely dinner for your husband.

Fast forward six months.  Many things have changed.  I have benefitted greatly from educating myself and I/we have made enormous lifestyle upgrades.  I have chosen to be healthy and move in a direction of wellness.  Now, hold your horses one minute.  No, I am not positive every minute of every day.  I have made the choice to be grateful for every minute of every day.  Sure, I am still adjusting and still get way too tired just getting the laundry out of the dryer, but I can do it all by myself.  It takes a couple of days to recover from driving myself around to do errands, but I can it all by myself.  I can and do clean out the chicken coop once a week.  I brush the dog every other day.  I can make dinner.  I am living my life again.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t have little or huge meltdowns.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t stumble and have to spend a day or two “resting”.  geesh.  It means I feel like I am living a more happily on purpose, filled life.

The thing about going through hell (hell is all the horrid , ugly, painful, barbaric treatments, nerves, humiliation, embarrassment and getting kicked over and over when I was at my lowest) and walking over coals, (coals are the crappy people who spit in my face and laughed at me, and left me out to dry and “couldn’t do sick” and thought I wouldn’t be here six months later, never could visit me and gave up on me),  is that you get to reward yourself by surviving 6 whole months!  I have earned the prizes.  I deserve to celebrate the six month victory.  Yes, I just typed that, I DESERVE to celebrate.  It is my party and I have earned every single, special,  happy, charming, interesting, indulgent gift.

DSCN1311I am grateful that today, I celebrate.  I have oodles and oodles to be grateful and thankful for.  Mr. Right gets to celebrate with me.  He has walked over every single glowing coal with me.

buying new shoes with three-inch heels to wear to a wedding, completing a hike, vacuuming the house and the car in the same day, drinking wonderful healing juice daily, taking the dog swimming, weeding my plants and vegetables, buying cowgirl boots, drying lavender that I grew to give to friends, “wasting” time reading murder mysteries, painting my toenails luscious colors with sparkles, finding things to laugh at daily,  making donations to charities and causes that bring me good feelings, sending notes and cards and gifts to people who need a little nudge in the “happy” department, getting sunshine everyday, dipping your toes in a snow melt fed river, sewing, baking, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, making the bed, cleaning house, making gifts for two grandgirlies, telling people  I love them and am grateful they are in my lifeDSCN1337

planning ahead.  planning a hike, planning a gift to give, planning trips, planning to visit family, planning on what color flowers to plant for fall, planning what to wear for a trip, planning ahead is a gift unto itself.  When you have everything taken away in the blink of an eye,  when you are sick, planning is the last, very last thing on your “to do” list.

I still have baggage.  However, I now have a modern, lightweight version.  My suitcase has wheels that swivel.  It has extra huge expandable zip pockets for oodles of good things.  I love the color and oh good gravy, it is filling up fast.  The quality is second to none.  It has a special compartment for lots and lots of new sassy shoes and boots.  This particular suitcase has the promise of trips that are ahead for us.  I love the anticipation of taking a trip.  My stomach gets all giddy in a good way.  It has a special zipper compartment for sparkly bracelets and vitamins and saucy colored nail polish. Oops, no room for canned peas, nasty people, ugly shoes, boring books, unhealthy foods, doctors that are not enlightened, mean people who are not living a grateful life.   I have chosen to fill my suitcase up with all sorts of grateful HAPPY!

My strength did not come from lifting weights.  My strength came from lifting myself up when I was knocked down.

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With a destination of California in mind, people save for years and years for a vacation.  Some folks plot and plan to make their final destination Laguna Beach or Huntington Beach, maybe even Orange county.  Disneyland is marked on several change jars across the land to “save up” for the ultimate trip.

So in a strange twist of good karma, when someone, namely son number two, has a birthday to celebrate, he chooses to leave his home (Orange county and the wonderful beach where he and his sweet gal live) and go camping in the Sequoia National Forest.  He is a grown up and gets to choose where and how he celebrates.  He chose his wife, his dog and an electronic free three days of peace in nature.  (yes, he told us and the in-laws where they will be hiking, camping and goofing off.  We were given an itinerary and a map.  Yes, they have a cell phone, locked in the glove box in case of an emergency.)

That means his dear old mom and dad don’t get to bug him on his phone.  We don’t get to send him a text.  We don’t get to shoot him an email.   What we are doing is sending him GREAT Karma via ESP.  We are thinking good thoughts of and for him all day long.  We sent him a birthday box of goodies before he left.  It was full of silliness and great gifts and possibilities.

img_7104Here’s to you, Gabriel Arlen Arthur Wilson and your weekend of fresh air and peace.  May you enjoy every single moment.   Happy Birthday to one of the most honorable, honest, kind, intelligent, creative, quick-witted, curious, wonderful,  good eggs out there!  You make us so happy and proud.

Enjoy your time in the forest.  May it fill your heart and soul with pure goodness.

 

cake? yes please!

Dry, boring, thoughts of cardboard come to mind……….I am speaking of most “healthy” cake treats that are usually offered up by the masses.  I try, oh, believe me I have tried.  I have sought out the odd ball flours, the “secret” ingredients that you can only find in the not well-lit, health food stores that charge waaaay too much.    So it is with reservations, when I see a glorious picture of a moist, lovely cake that can be enjoyed by all.  okay, we will give it a try.  Notice how I do not share all the so-so dry boring cake recipes?  You’re welcome.

blueberriesFirst, having a cute hot pink pedicure, I am bare foot.  You can’t see a lively pedicure under socks and sneakers, geesh.  I step bare foot out onto our deck.  I have the one cup measuring cup in my hand.  I start picking.  I can hear the chickens chirping a hello to me.  The dog is rolling happily on the grass nearby.  In about 5 minutes I pick a fresh cup of intense saturated color and flavor, blueberries.  I am lucky.  We have two huge bushes growing right on our deck.  Doesn’t get much fresher.

Turn up that music and tie on a flirty apron.  What you don’t own a flirty apron?  Why not?  Please, for the love of girlie girls everywhere, do not tell me you are wearing an old, faded, college logo apron that is dull and stained.   Get out paper and pen right now…………I will wait………………okay, write at the top, “My Christmas Wish List”  1.  cute, flirty, sassy, uplifting, happy, charming apron (I promise to bake and cook more if I look saucy.).    Good.  done.  Now back to our scheduled program.  cake.

This recipe was shared by way of www.peasandthankyou.com  She has a wonderful site and you will fall head over heels in love with her girls.  Very uplifting and she is one smart cookie that somehow makes you believe you can feed your family healthy food that tastes wonderful.

Lemon Blueberry Snack cake ……….take it away!

Preheat your oven to 350*.  Line a 8X8 inch pan with parchment (that way you don’t have to add any extra oil).  In a large bowl, combine, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1/2 cup oat flour (throw 1/2 cup oats in the Blendtec and whirl into flour, ta-da), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder & 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice (or sucanat or sugar).  In a smaller bowl whisk together, 1/3 cup melted Earth Balance (or butter), 3 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh please), 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, 1 cup non dairy Yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla & lemon extract, 1 fresh egg (or 3 Tablespoons water + 1 Tablespoon ground flax, whisked), 1 cup fresh picked Blueberries.  Add lemon mixture to the flours and stir just until combined.  Fold in the berries.

Pour batter into pan.  Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Serve.  I dusted ours with a bit of homemade powdered sugar.  For that fancy schmancy touch, toss a couple of blueberries on the plate and a curl of lemon peel.    DSCN1309

Invite that someone special to join you at the table.  Use the jaunty, colorful placemats, get the dessert forks out of your silverware chest, YES, the “good” silver,  put your napkin in your lap, SAY GRACE, (oh, you want to put your heart and soul into this Grace, it is truly something to be Grateful for) take your fork and pierce that sweet, slightly crisp, upper edge and let your fork slide through the intense blue nuggets of sweetness.  Take that first forkful and put it into your mouth.  Close your eyes, slowly chew that first moist, slightly sweet, slightly tart bite.  Seconds?  Don’t mind if I do!   yes, please!

Take big bites out of life.  Moderation is for monks.